The German female gymnast team made headlines when they wore the full body at the Tokyo Olympics recently. This marked the second time that they wore full bodysuits, uniforms which are covering legs, the first time at the European Championships 2021 in Switzerland earlier this year. They are protesting against uniforms that are sexist, as professional female gymnasts are required to wear revealing uniforms that objectifies their bodies.
Taking a stand against sexism in sports
The German gymnast team is taking a stand against sexualization in sports by wearing full-body suits instead of the standard leotard uniform required by the sports officials. Leotards are tight-fitting clothes that show off the whole legs of the wearer.
In an interview with Sarah Voss, the German gymnast team captain, she said, “Gymnasts don’t always feel comfortable training in leotards, also in gymnastic competitions, one has the feeling that they slip out of place or could slip out of place. And that perhaps cameras can catch this poor moment. The bodysuit originated for this reason, simply to show that there is a possibility and since 2012, wearing matching trousers is also allowed. “
“With the bodysuit, we want to show the campaign, “It’s my choice:”.
The German Gymnast Association supports their team’s decision. According to sources, international competitions allow for uniforms that cover the legs for religious reasons however this is the first for non-religious reasons.
The German team’s stand against revealing clothing was inspired by the Norwegian female volleyball team who were forced to wear revealing bikinis as their sports uniforms. The Norwegian volleyball team instead opted for wearing shorts and was fined for rejecting wearing bikinis at the competition by the European Beach Handball Championships earlier in July 2021.
Professional women gymnasts have also been subjected to sexual abuse, as previously disclosed by the US team.
Sexualizing Sports Competitions
Professional women athletes have had to put up with wearing revealing uniforms when they compete. While in training, they are always allowed to wear more modest clothing, for example, professional gymnasts can wear full-body clothing in training but in competitions, only leotards are allowed.
If sports competition were fully for the purpose of seeing who is the fastest, better, more skilled athletes in their fields, forcing women athletes to wear revealing clothing would not be an issue.
However, international sports competitions are ruled by their sports committees, where there are often more men than women in the committees. Could this be part of the reason the professional rules on revealing uniforms requirements? Or is it to make sure that there are more spectators or viewers who are not really sports enthusiasts but are just there for the physical attraction?
Why Modest Clothing Is Required in Islam
While non-Muslims may think that wearing the hijab, covering the hair, or the niqab, covering the face, and wearing loose, non-tight-fitting clothing, as backward or even as much as oppressed, this is exactly the opposite. Wearing covered clothing is actually liberating for women, especially Muslim women.
Liberating because women with modest clothing are not judged on their bodies or physical attractiveness. They can then be appreciated purely for their contribution to society, or family or to work, and so on.
The main reason for modest clothing in Islam is that it is for respecting the women, protecting the women from preying eyes, protecting them from being turned into objects of desire. Muslim men are also required to wear modest clothing, clothing that covers parts of their bodies. In Islam, modesty is not just for clothing, but for the overall conduct of a person.
Modest clothing is part of a larger system in Islam that when properly followed maintains the dignity of men, women, and society as a whole.
“And tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to [those relatives who fall within bounds of close relationship explained in the Qur’an]”Quran, Surah an-Nur, Chapter 24, Verses 30-31.
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.